|Publication number||US5821876 A|
|Application number||US 07/772,998|
|Publication date||13 Oct 1998|
|Filing date||8 Oct 1991|
|Priority date||8 Oct 1991|
|Also published as||CA2095811A1, CA2095811C, EP0560973A1, EP0560973A4, WO1993007597A1|
|Publication number||07772998, 772998, US 5821876 A, US 5821876A, US-A-5821876, US5821876 A, US5821876A|
|Inventors||Ronald Lee Farrington, Larry James Serbousek, Andy Allen Haun, Earl John Tessmer|
|Original Assignee||Square D Company|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (11), Referenced by (15), Classifications (26), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates generally to circuit breakers and, more particularly, to communication schemes for controlling circuit breakers.
Accurate and cost-effective circuit breaker control is becoming increasingly important in many applications. For example, circuit breaker control in energy management applications has become significantly more important in terms of service and sales. Proper circuit breaker control arrangements can provide tangible benefits with respect to equipment performance and maintenance. Specifically, these benefits include savings of manufacturing, maintenance and energy costs, improved equipment utilization, and increased system reliability. Effective circuit breaker control designs therefore provide increased sales and profits.
While numerous circuit breaker control arrangements have been designed with the above objectives in mind, each has compromised cost and/or performance. One of the most popular arrangements, for example, includes running communication wires between a control station and circuit breakers in a load center. The circuit breakers are controlled between "make" (on) and "break" (off) states using signals passed from the control station to the circuit breakers.
Cost and performance problems with wiring circuit breakers in this manner concern manufacturing, installation and maintenance. For instance, the many wires that are required in this arrangement are expensive, and the labor involved in their installation and maintenance is extensive. Additionally, an increasing number of applications require smaller structures in which the circuit breakers must be installed, not allowing room for such conventional wiring.
Accordingly, there is need for a circuit breaker control arrangement which overcomes these deficiencies.
A general object of the present invention is to provide a circuit breaker control arrangement that is reliable, accurate and cost-effective to manufacture, install and maintain.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a circuit breaker control arrangement that alleviates the need for installing wires to connect each circuit breaker with the control station and, thus, increases the modularity of the circuit breaker arrangement. In alleviating that need, it is a more specific object of the present invention to provide a circuit breaker control arrangement which employs a multidrop-like communication scheme.
In one preferred embodiment, these and other objects of the present invention are realized using a multiple circuit breaker arrangement. Each of these circuit breakers contains internal control technology that interrupts and establishes an associated current path. At least one coded signal designates each circuit breaker, and a communication bus carries these coded signals to each circuit breaker. Decoding technology located on each circuit breaker determines whether the coded signal corresponds to that circuit breaker. If the coded signal does correspond to that circuit breaker, then the decoding technology responds by sending the appropriate response signal over the communication bus, and the circuit breaker's internal control technology either interrupts or establishes the associated current path.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading of the following detailed description and upon reference to the drawing in which:
FIG. 1 shows a general block diagram of a circuit breaker arrangement which incorporates the present invention;
FIG. 1A shows an alternative implementation for arrangement of FIG. 1;
FIG. 2 is a view of a communication interface between multiple circuit breakers and a controller, where the circuit breakers are optically coupled to the communication bus, according to the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a side view of one of the circuit breakers shown in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a detailed diagram of the optical coupling from the controller to the circuit breaker;
FIG. 5 is a detailed diagram of the optical coupling from circuit breaker to the controller; and
FIG. 6 shows the communication interface between multiple circuit breakers and a controller, where the circuit breakers are physically connected to the communication bus, according to the present invention.
While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alterative forms, specifics thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail. It should be understood, however, that it is not intended to limit the invention to the particular embodiment described. On the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
In accordance with the present invention, a circuit breaker control arrangement provides a communication scheme that advantageously eliminates significant costs and inefficiencies of other systems in the prior art.
Such an arrangement is illustrated in FIG. 1, where there is shown a multiple circuit breaker arrangement generally designated 10. The arrangement 10 comprises a bank of circuit breakers 12, a communication bus 30, a controller 14, and a distribution panel 13. The circuit breakers are coupled to a communication bus 30 to allow controller 14 to control the circuit breakers via the communication bus 30. As shown, controller 14 may be located inside (FIG. 1) or outside (FIG. 1A) of the distribution panel 13 depending on the application. Reference numbers 10', 12', 13', 14', 30' in FIG. 1A correspond to reference numbers 10, 12, 13, 14, 30 in FIG. 1, for the purpose of illustrating the embodiment in which a controller is located outside of a distribution panel as shown in FIG. 1A. The arrangement 10 provides for circuit breaker control and removes the inconvenience and waste of separate control lines typically used in conventional circuit breaker control systems.
FIG. 2 illustrates an optical multidrop circuit breaker system which incorporates a preferred embodiment of the present invention. System includes circuit breakers 12 with power terminals 16, 17 and 18. Each circuit breaker 12 connects to a power bus 25 via conventional power bus mounting methods (FIG. 3). A decoding circuit 55 is mounted on each circuit breaker 12 to sample the incoming code sequences from the controller 14 and to initiate a response signal to controller 14. System includes more particularly optical devices 35, 40, 45 and 50 to optically couple circuit breaker 12 with communication bus 30. The optical devices provide electrical isolation and protect decoding circuit 55 and the electronic circuit breaker control systems from damaging electrical signals and eliminate the need for mechanical contacts. The optically coupled circuit breaker 12 communicates with controller 14 through the communication bus 30.
The controller 14 initiates the communication by sending a code sequence through communication bus 30 to optical device 35 which is connected to communication bus 30. Optical device 35 optically emits the code sequence to optical device 40, which is connected to decoding circuit 55. Decoding circuit 55 determines whether the code sequence corresponds to circuit breaker 12 using conventional digital technology. If the code sequence does not correspond to a particular circuit breaker 12, nothing happens because the code sequence designates another circuit breaker. If the code sequence corresponds to circuit breaker 12, then decoding circuit 55 responds through optical device 45 by optically signalling optical device 50, which is connected to communication bus 30. The response signal travels through communication bus 30 and alerts controller 14 that the proper circuit breaker 12 has received the controller's previous code sequence.
FIG. 4 illustrates a manner in which optical devices 35 and 40 of FIG. 2 optically couple communication bus 30 with circuit breaker 12 for the purpose of controller to circuit breaker communication. Controller 14 drives a bank of series LED's on the communication bus 30. A light-emitting diode 35 (LED 35) is optically matched up with a receiving photo transistor 40. The transistor 40 signal is amplified and converted into digital levels by setting a proper collector voltage. Decoding circuit 55 interprets the digital signals and determines if controller 14 sent the proper code sequence for that circuit breaker.
If controller 14 transmitted the designated code sequence for circuit breaker 12, the decoding circuit 55 will initiate a response to alert controller 14 that circuit breaker 12 has received the transmission. FIG. 5 shows how optical devices 45 and 50 of FIG. 1 may couple circuit breaker 12 with communication bus 30. Decoding circuit 55 drives LED 45, which is optically matched up with receiving photo transistor 50. The transistor is one of a bank of parallel open collector photo transistors on the communication bus 30. When LED 45 activates photo transistor 50, the subsequent voltage change alerts controller 14 that the designated circuit breaker 12 received the code sequence.
FIG. 6 illustrates a preferred embodiment which uses physical connectors 60 and 65 in place of the optical devices 35, 40, 45 and 50 of FIG. 2. The controller 114 sends a code sequence through the communication bus 130 to initiate the control communication. The code sequence passes through the physical connection 60, and the decoding circuit 155 directly samples the code sequence to determine if the code sequence corresponds to circuit breaker 112. If the code sequence corresponds to circuit breaker 112, then decoding circuit 155 responds through physical connection 65 to the controller 114 via the communication bus 130.
The communication scheme of the present invention does not require the expense, space and time of running communication lines between a controller and the controlled circuit breakers (or other switching devices, such as relays). Instead, the circuit breakers are coupled to a communication bus through which a controller sends code sequences to designated circuit breakers. This modular scheme also allows for easy maintenance and installation of additional circuit breakers.
The sophistication of the controller provides for a variety of possible applications. The controller may range from a remote switchboard to a personal computer with the proper serial interface that controls multiple circuit breakers arrangements requiring synchronized control. The circuit breakers of the embodiments may include a wide variety of circuit breakers that employ conventional electronic control systems. An example of an appropriate circuit breaker for the embodiments may be found in Erickson et al. (U.S. Pat. No. 4,623,859), incorporated herein by reference.
While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to particular embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that modifications and changes may be made to the present invention described above without departing from the spirit and scope thereof. For example, an embodiment of the invention may comprise optical isolation devices located exclusively on the circuit breakers, replacing the LED/photo transistor combinations, to provide the optical coupling between the circuit breakers and the communications bus.
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|U.S. Classification||340/3.2, 307/125, 307/132.00E, 340/310.16, 361/191, 340/639, 307/40|
|International Classification||H02H7/26, H02J13/00, H02H1/00, H02H3/00, H02B1/056, G08B1/00|
|Cooperative Classification||H02H7/262, Y10T307/878, H02B1/056, H02H1/0061, Y10T307/477, Y02E60/725, Y10T307/826, H02J13/0055, Y04S10/20|
|European Classification||H02H7/26B2, H02J13/00F4B3, H02H1/00E, H02B1/056|
|8 Oct 1991||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SQUARE D COMPANY, A CORP. OF DE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNORS:FARRINGTON, RONALD L.;SERBOUSEK, LARRY J.;HAUN, ANDY A.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:005879/0122
Effective date: 19910926
|29 Mar 2002||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|30 Mar 2006||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|17 May 2010||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|13 Oct 2010||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|30 Nov 2010||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20101013